One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1with infinitive Pleased or willing under the circumstances.‘the traveller was fain to proceed’
- ‘He held out his hand watching me, but I fain to think that I would still question myself, pulled away.’’
2with infinitive Compelled by the circumstances; obliged.‘he was fain to acknowledge that the agreement was sacrosanct’
- ‘This functionary, however well disposed to my friend, could not altogether conceal his chagrin at the turn which affairs had taken, and was fain to indulge in a sarcasm or two about the propriety of every person minding his own business.’
- ‘In Smith's Discourse of the Commonweal, a maker of caps is made to say: ‘I am fain to give my journeymen twopence in a day more than I was wont to do, and yet they say they cannot sufficiently live thereon.’
- ‘If you would grant but my request, I then most surely should be blest; But if you treat me with disdain, To hang myself I now would fain; Then pray consent and make me thine, To save from death your Valentine.’
Gladly.‘I am weary and would fain get a little rest’
with pleasure, happily, cheerfullyView synonyms
- ‘There was something else which she would fain have said, and she stabbed with her finger into the air in the direction of the Doctor's [i.e. her stepfather's room], but a fresh convulsion seized her and choked her words.’
- ‘With such a comrade, such a friend, I fain would walk till journeys end,’
- ‘‘Depend upon it that, rude and careless as I am, I would fain practice the yoga faithfully,’ he writes.’
- ‘And I fain would think that this world of ours is a good world after all.’
- ‘I would fain be friends with you, for their sake.’
Old English fægen ‘happy, well pleased’, of Germanic origin, from a base meaning ‘rejoice’; related to fawn.
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